Doping: Lasitskene and Shubenkov lead Russian athletes' rebellion

Russia's high-jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene urged fellow competitors to challenge the country's athletics body over its handling of its doping ban. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Four Russian athletes, including three-time high-jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene, on Tuesday (Jan 7) urged their fellow competitors to challenge their country's athletics body over its handling of its doping ban.

Lasitskene, alongside 2015 110m hurdles world champion Sergey Shubenkov, pole vault world champion Anzhelika Sidorova and former hammer thrower Sergey Litvinov, is looking to use Rusaf's long-dormant Athletes Commission to speed up changes within the governing body.

Launching a new Instagram page for the commission, the group urged fellow athletes to "work together" to "change Russian athletics' current situation".

Last month the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) decided to ban Russia from participating in major international events for four years, including the 2020 and 2022 Olympic Games and the 2022 World Cup.

The country was banned following a vast scandal that enveloped Russian sport, with December's ban coming over manipulated doping data.

Under the sanctions, Russians will still be allowed to compete, but only as neutrals and if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what Wada believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

Lasitskene has been a vocal critic of the Russian sporting authorities, and has already warned she would quit Russia and train elsewhere so as not to miss the Tokyo Olympics.

She, Shubenkov and Sidorova all missed the 2016 Rio Games due to the country's previous suspension in 2015 following revelations of state-sponsored doping.

The trio wrote an open letter to Rusaf in December slamming the body for their inaction in acquiring neutral status for Russian athletes.

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